Of course, we were always looking for something new. On one occasion, spurred by that desire to find something new, we turned right from the macadam road as we got closer to the beach. The usual question that we ask ourselves every day pops up again:
“We count to thirty and wherever that may take us, we’ll set up camp there.”
On the count of 27 we get stuck in the sand, just a few yards from some makeshift board which read: The Oasis. Whatever this may be, we’re at the right place.
Stefan is about our age. Thirtyish. He is from Ulcinj and lives at the Oasis. The man is simply ultra-rich. Actually, he doesn’t have much to offer. He is just one of those people whose appearance makes you become immediately interested in his life story. He isn’t very talkative, but somehow composed and he smiles a lot. In the time when you’re absolutely flooded with information and constant din, this seems more than enough to awaken our curiosity.
The Oasis is a trailer. Nothing posh. There’s enough space for sleeping, his instruments and Timba, provided he chooses to sleep inside. Timba is a mixed-breed puppy and most probably the chirpiest dog we’ve ever seen. And why wouldn’t he be? He lives on the beach, surrounded by music and optimistic people.
We didn’t fit in very well at first. Timba was too „friendly“ to our dog, Bagheera. We made fire using dry branches piled up behind the trailer, which Stefan had been collecting for months. We discovered that he likes making sculptures and he was supposed to make a life-size human statue from those branches.
„It doesn’t matter. I’ll get new ones“, he said, his hands pressed to his temples.
„Don’t worry, we’ll help you.“
„Just don’t help me anymore, I beg you“, he said to our delight, but with a smile.
The Oasis isn’t only a home. It’s a serious entrepreneurial undertaking. A bar patched together with heart, reed, branches and zero investment. It’s the only bar on Ada Bojana that doesn’t have a price for beer or spritzer. Stefan has a strange view on money. It’s as if he doesn’t like it at all. He denounces it whenever possible. That is why you can get a free drink at his place, although he himself neither drinks nor smokes. He simply loves life, he loves the people and the chat.
“What the hell are you doin’ here, bro?”
“Nothing really. I’ve had my peace and quiet for 11 years now.”, he replied wittily.
While we’re wondering about the usual things like water, electricity and how on earth he manages to get some shut-eye with so many mosquitoes around, he turns towards the sea and the beach and stretches out his hands.
„Can you feel this? The view and the smell! Freedom is Zen!“
Stefan is alone here, if you leave out Timba. But on the other hand, this man is constantly surrounded by people. During our stay, some Polish people made him company. There were three of them, each with his own horn. They tried to strike some notes that turned out to be quite suitable for creating a relaxed atmosphere.
When he’s playing, Stefan and the guitar are one and the same. When he’s not playing, he tries to perfect his kitesurfing technique. That is one of those plans. To collect enough of that goddamn money, as he is wont to say, to catch the wind and ride the waves.
While we’re gulping down our second bottle of beer and discussing some gibberish like the effect of sea salt on hair, the level of moisture in the firewood or why his guitar sounds better with 5 instead of 6 strings, he offers us a pizza.
“How on earth are you going to make a pizza?”
“We can have pizza, baked beans, we just have to agree on it. I have a makeshift wood-burning stove. I’ve made it myself.“
Is it good to have beans in this heat? Or maybe pizza would be a better option? Then he told us that he had spent a few months working in Italy. He hitchhiked to Venice. He just wanted to see it, even if it meant spending just half an hour there. Since he embarked on this journey without the goddamn money, the truck driver dropped him off at Lido di Jesolo. He stayed there for a couple of weeks. He kneaded dough and crushed tomatoes so that he could earn enough money for a boat ride to the famous Venice. This is where he learned his trade. Then pizza is definitely a better choice, rather than the beans.
We spent the whole night making it. We had the knowledge and the ingredients. But this makeshift stove patched together with some metal tank and a clay cover is unadulterated shit. It’s really no mean feat trying to make a good pizza on a stove. However, it was quite edible.
We were by no means stingy with him. Stefan doesn’t charge any money, but he is willing to accept donations. We wanted to pay for everything as we usually do on all our trips, because he has wonderful plans for the winter. He is coming to Serbia. He is going to volunteer at Stara Planina guesthouse for food and accommodation. He hopes that he will finally learn how to ride a snowboard. It would be absolutely heartless not to support such a plan!
Everyone should get a chance to meet a person like Stefan at least once in their lifetime. Just to see how blind we can sometimes be and how we can lose touch with simple things in life. Just to see that happiness and peace are actually quite simple things and that most people are blind men who can’t see the forest for the trees.
We would tell you to visit him, if not this year, then some other. However, he will probably not be on Ada Bojana anymore. At least not on the beach, 27 seconds right from the long macadam road that leads to the sea.
„Next year, all this will be rented by those with 5k Euros in their pockets… oh, the goddamn money!“ said Stefan, shrugging his shoulders.